Thursday, June 13, 2013

How to stay married for 20 years and one day

Things happen on June 12.

Births, deaths, marriages, and chases.

1912 : My grandmother was born.
2006: My niece was born.
1993: I married Harv. TWENTY years we celebrated yesterday.
1994: OJ Simpson got chased.
2013: My friend's husband died.

But as my six-year old said, "That's okay that he's dead. Now he's in heaven and he can swim."

And then he told his dad that he smells like a zucchini.

And since twenty years of marriage makes me somewhat of an expert, at least according to me, I offer you my unsolicited advice about marriage:

1. Apologize when you mess up. And mean it.
2. Praise and thank and say nice things often.
3. Hug and touch a lot.
4. Say what you want clearly.
5. Be honest.
6. Don't hit.
7. Forgive.

And I'm not claiming that I do these things. I can't claim that because my husband reads this and also because I don't want to break rule #5. But I try to do these things. Or at least I want to try to do them because I know I should. Sometimes I'm too tired, often I'm too selfish, and almost every day I can find something I'd rather do than be nice. And I have piles and stacks of resentment and bitterness about so many of life's unfairness and inadequacies; I can feel quite sorry for myself.

But in the end, I have a husband who loves me. Who has stayed with me for twenty years and one day. And trust me, we've seen the "worse" in the decades more often than I imagined we would on our wedding day.

And we have a lot of "better" too. And more and more to come. In fact, the more we practice all of my aforementioned guidelines, the better it gets. By it I mean us.

You can go along for quite a while as two opposing forces competing for the easier current, especially when there are young children along for the ride. But eventually, you may realize that you can rest sometimes on the back of the other, if you let go...of all fears and pretense and barriers that you felt you needed to erect in order to survive. It takes a long time to learn to trust someone that much. And it's a most difficult release and surrender. But if you can do it and emerge on the other side, watch out, you may end up waking up in Canada with a zucchini-smelling husband.

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